Packed to the brim with adventure, natural wonders and unique flora and fauna, this tour allows you to experience the luxurious Tren Crucero train as it passes through Ecuador. Here you get to delight in various local delicacies, like chocolates created from Cacao harvested in plantations. Then as you pass through the town of Quito and its lovely church, you will also be able to indulge in traditional soups like fanesca. After this as you travel to the Galapagos Islands, you can check out Giant Turtles and the nearby lava tunnels, and finish off this decadent experience with brown sugar harvested from local plantations.
Please Note: All itineraries are approximate and subject to change based on availability and conditions at the destination.
Welcome to Ecuador! Upon your arrival, you will be picked up at the airport and driven to the Wyndham Guayaquil, where you can enjoy a night to yourself and rest in preparation for your exciting journey in the morning!
Overnight in Guayaquil.
Make it to the airport bright and early for your flight from Guayaquil to the Galapagos Islands!
Arrive at Baltra airport. Shared transfer in. In the morning, we will head to the El Chato Reserve in the highlands of Santa Cruz, home to the famous Galapagos giant tortoises in their natural habitat. Hiking through lava tunnels in El Chato's beautiful scenery with those lumbering giants is an unforgettable experience! We also see the fantastic formation of the twin craters with other highland wildlife such as: flycatchers, owls, anys and various number of Darwin finches on our hike.
The impressive underground tunnels southeast of the village of Santa Rosa are more than 1km in length and were formed when the outside skin of a molten lava flow solidified. When the lava flow ceased, the molten lava inside the flow kept going, emptying out of the solidified skin and thus leaving tunnels. Because they are on private property, the tunnels can be visited without an official guide. The tunnels have electrical lighting (you can also hire flashlights/torches).
Breakfast. Full day exploration with lunch. Santa Fe offers one of the more beautiful and sheltered coves in the islands. Its turquoise lagoon is protected by a peninsula of tiny islets forming an ideal anchorage. The island lies to the southeast of Santa Cruz within sight of Puerto Ayora. Like North Seymour, Santa Fe has been uplifted seismically and you can see underwater lava formations.
Breakfast. Island excursion. The headquarters of the Galapagos National Park Service and the Charles Darwin Research Station are located side by side on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora. There is an interpretation center open to the public and visitors may view the tortoise breeding program. Those guests who do not have the opportunity to explore the highlands of Santa Cruz and see tortoises in their natural habitat will have the chance to see tortoises here. And for those who have already seen them in the wild, a visit to the research station will see tortoises from the other islands and expand their knowledge of this unique, iconic Galapagos inhabitant. Tortuga Bay is located to the southwest of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. Its name means “turtle”, and the island received this moniker because it is favorite place for sea turtles to lay their eggs. Many consider the stunning white sand beach the most beautiful in the Galapagos archipelago. The beach is reached via a marked and cobbled two-kilometer path that starts at the west end of Charles Binford Street. Guests must sign in and out at the national park control point at the beginning of the path. It is open from 6:00 AM to 6:30 PM daily.
After breakfast, you will return to the airport to fly back to mainland Ecuador, so be sure to make the most of your last day in this paradise!
Once you land in Guayaquil, a driver will take you to the Wyndham, where you will enjoy a restful night before setting out on Tren Crucero in the morning!
Our journey to the Andes begins in Duran train station where we will board a convoy pulled by a carefully restored steam locomotive. The roaring engine, steam whistles and steel wheels over the railways will take us back in time to the early XIX century and the adventurous experience that is the Tren Crucero.
Our first stop is Yaguachi, were we will switch engines to continue our trip across vast plantations of sugar cane, banana, rice and pineapple until we reach the Naranjito station.
A short bus transfer will take us to a local hacienda were we will learn about the cocoa bean and we will be part of the chocolate making process. Ecuadorian cocoa beans are considered to be the best of the world and you would have the opportunity to taste them while we visit the hacienda.
In the afternoon a “montubio” show will welcome us before we taste the delicious food of the coast of Ecuador.
A bus transfer will take us to Bucay were we will take a hike around the tropical forest, home of countless plants, birds and orchids that will marvel us with their different sizes and exuberant colours.
We will check in at our hotel and prepare for dinner.
Our next day adventure continues by bus when we climb the Andes on a pleasant 4 hours drive. During this ride we will look at the amazing changes in, landscape from the peaceful green plains of the coast to the colossal Andean mountains that cast their shadows on the road. Our destination is the town of Alausi were we will embark on a thrilling adventure on board the famous Devil´s Nose train.
Upon arrival at Alausi Train station we will join a restored XX century convoy and we will start our trip to the Devil´s Nose pass, a 450-meter descend in barely 12 kilometres on a zig-zagging railway that allows the locomotive to pull forwards and backwards the convoy to reach its destination, Sibambe train station. At Sibambe a colourful Andean community ballet will welcome us. Many are the histories that tell us why this pass was baptized as La Nariz del Diablo or The Devil´s Nose, from the shape of the mountain that awakens our imagination to the number of human lives that took to overcome this nearly impossible obstacle.
After our thrilling adventure of The Devil´s Nose, we will take a bus ride to Guamote. Lunch will be served on board and afterwards we will continue or journey north to Colta were an impressive steam engine locomotive known as “The Black Monster” will be waiting for us. This huge steam engine was carefully overhauled and is strong enough to pull convoys over the railways of the Andes where the altitude and lack of oxygen makes this a titanic task. Once we arrive to Riobamba a bus transfer will take us to our hotel for a delicious meal and a good night sleep.
We depart for Urbina train station, the highest point in our itinerary at 3,600 metres above sea level. There, on the eastern flanks of the Chimborazo Volcano, we meet the fascinating last ice merchant, Baltazar Ushca, to tell the tale of his ancestral trade.
We continue north across the Avenue of Volcanoes a term coined by Alexander Von Humboldt due to the impressive number of volcanoes present in this part of the Andean mountain range. In between the two flanks of the Andes colourful valleys extend for many miles, offering you unique landscapes along the way.
While our train continues making its way up north the devils will take over the train. A picturesque and ancestral tradition the “Diablada Pillareña” parade will add a touch of joy and music to this beautiful day.
Under the watchful eyes of the Cotopaxi our train will makes its way to of the local haciendas to take part on the daily farm activities. At the hacienda we will be greet by the “chagras” the cowboys of the Andes, who will share part of their culture with you.
We arrive to Quito train Station located in the traditional neighbourhood of Chimbacalle were a bus will be waiting for us to take us to our hotels for dinner and a peaceful night at this UNESCO Cultural Heritage City.
Our journey continues in the morning with a 2 hours bus ride north across rose plantations and charming mountains that seem to be patched up in different colours by the many plantations along the way. Our destination will be the valley of Otavalo in the Imbabura Province. Otavalo is home of ancient cultures, skilled craftspeople and the world-renowned Otavalo market.
We arrive at San Roque Train station where we will embark a panoramic convoy on a journey full of hidden wonders, musicians, painters, weavers and the skilful woodcarvers who keep the complicated Quito School of Art style alive. Delve yourself into this amazing world of colours and textures while we explore the northern routes of the Ecuadorian railway.
After our train trip we will visit Hacienda la Compania, located close to the equatorial line, this XVIII century hacienda will amaze you with its export-class rose plantation and exquisite Andean cuisine. After lunch we will return to Quito.
Check out of your hotel after breakfast.
While your tour ends today, we would love to offer you a number of the optional activities in and around Quito including:
Day at the Mindo Cloud Forest
City Tour of Quito and visit to the Middle of the World
Tour to Papallacta for a spa day at the hot springs.
Need more? Contact us and we will be happy to assist with more extensions
Visas may be required. Please check with the the nearest/local Ecuadorian embassy/consulate. Palace tours doesn't assist guests providing visa or consultancy.
You can review this web site from the Ecuadorian Government to see the requirements for your nationality to enter the country. http://www.ecuador.org/nuevosite/serviciosconsulares_e.php
Ecuador do not require yellow fever vaccine. Ecuador has no current malaria or yellow fever alert on any location.
Yes, the seats are pre-assigned and the guests can charge specialty drinks ordered on the train to their seat and pay at the end of the journey.
Capacity is 50 passengers. 01 Expedition Leader, 01 guide per every 15 guests, 01 bartender, 02 waitress, 01 operational manager and 03 operation assistants. Seat are pre-assigned.
No, both languages are spoken due to standard. German, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese or Russian is available prior request and extra charge.
Yes, there are two complete medic kits on board. Crew has first aid (including basic CPR) training every year, however they are not certified. They are capable to supply medical assistance while travelling. We do not supply or recommend any kind of medicine/drug on board due to allergies and train rules.
Luggage is taken on the buses while travelling. Lockers are small and designed to store small carry-ons, however valuables are recommended to be taken with guests all the time since the train is cleaned on every station and at the end of the day.
Yes they are available during the whole trip. Native guides are part of certain activities, however the train guides always accompany guests. Tipping is included on the program price.
Yes. We recommend guests to use their own portable device or cell phone with wifi capacity.
Ecuador uses 110. Adapters are not common on Haciendas/hotels, we recommend guests to bring their own.
Yes, we can handle vegetarians, gluten or lactose free diets at no extra charge. Special request for Asian passengers is not available.
We used modern and A/C coaches during the itinerary. Guests will share buses. As we used one or two hotels in the area, most of the time we use 2 coaches of 30 to 45 seats and separate guests by hotels. However this is not warranted and we might do several bus stops to collect guests in different hotels. This will not exceed 2 stops.
Tipping is included on the program price. 10% is suggested for lunch dinner (main course can be calculated on a US$ 20 to US$ 45 per person). Haciendas/hotels do have attendants all the time.
Entrance fees are included in the price. In case of professional cameras (reporters or filming purposes) an authorization/fee must be paid in advance (before arrival) to the National Tourism Agency. We must receive a notification while booking.
Ecuador national currency is US Dollar. ATMs are available only at Ambato and Riobamba cities. We make a short stop at Alausi train station (before of after the Devil`s nose) in case guests require an extra ATM machine.
Local and/or international food both for lunch and dinner. Menu is designed to avoid repetitive dishes. Ecuadorian gastronomy offers an excellent variety of options for vegetarians including quinoa and other grains (specially maize).
Casual attire is recommended for the train and dinner. Good walking shoes and dress in layers is strongly suggested.
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